One of the guys I go to almost daily is DanielIsRight. He isn't always right. But he has deeply held beliefs, which in this day and age, is a refreshing change. There are times when I think he misses the mark. Yet, since I make positive comments from time to time, I don't think he views my criticisms the way he views most.
Living in the valley, he gets a lot more hate mail than I do. (Which I don't miss.)
He gives you a look at the folks who are planning a new bridge on I-5. A bridge we will all use. And pay for.
Somehow, these folks think that riding a bicycle from Vancouver, WA to Portland, OR is something we all plan on doing soon. Not just a "one-off", but as a daily thing.
Imagine the Columbia Bridge being rebuilt under the "political" pressures that the new I-5 bridge is being built under. We'd probably still be riding on ferries. The sad thing is, Portland is taking the saddle on this one, even though we, as Oregon residents, will be paying for it.
So, watch the video. (At the link, above.) And ask yourself, is this the future we want? 'Cause we're paying for it. (If you appreciate a sense of irony, you can also watch this.)
How many of you know an employee of a governmental agency or institution? If you live in Clatsop county, you can’t swing a cat in a crowded room without hitting several of these people.
When you add in those who are associated with certain non-profit agencies, which really, to be fair, should be viewed as public, rather than private, agencies, the number goes up even more.
Those of us who clearly belong to the private sector are seeing increasing declines in the number of those for whom we provide employment. (This increasing decline is what is referred to as Unemployment. We are increasing the number of people who are no longer able to find work. The decline occurs in the number of persons gainfully employed.) This while the number of those who are working for governmental agencies—and by this I mean those clearly “governmental”, such as city, county and state jobs, as well as those employed by the ESD and our public schools—and public non-profits whose funding comes primarily from federal, state and local grants, is increasing. And greater increase in public employment is being planned and provided for, both through the recently passed Stimulus Bill and by what is being passed off as “investment” strategies in Salem.
It is no wonder, to me at least, that when the issue of increased taxes and fees is discussed, that so many of us are told that we should increase taxes and fees. That there is a benefit to all of us by raising these taxes and fees. That, by raising taxes and fees, we are becoming increasingly fair.
Which is true, I suppose. I suppose it is true, because those who feed from the public trough rely upon those taxes and fees to pay their wages, and they feel this is fair. Any increase in taxes and fees actually benefits those who rely upon public funds for their private income. They are better off because more funds are available to them. They get better paychecks, better facilities, better desks, better computers. And any increase in taxes and fees today will be negotiated into the next contract, to adjust their wages to compensate for the increases in costs they face through higher taxes and fees.
I point this out for a couple of reasons. For the math or science minded, I bring it up in order to talk about one of the more fascinating ideas we encountered in our early childhood: the perpetual motion machine.
Young boys find this idea extremely interesting. How to design a machine that powers itself. Hours were spent as youths as I and my friends compared ideas on how to create the perfect perpetual motion machine. Screw gears, pendulum weights, all attempting to break through one undeniable fact of physics. There is a difference between potential and kinetic energy. And that energy is exhaustible.
Through its use, energy is consumed. It can be used wisely. It can be wasted. But, once gone, it is gone forever. I leave it to the obsessive to contemplate entropy. The bottom line is, you lose it whether you use it, or not.
The childlike naiveté with which we addressed the problem of perpetual motion is one of the endearing traits and qualities of childhood. Give a kid a puzzle, paper and a pencil and ideas will sprout. And the more a kid can “play” with a problem, the more he is able to learn. Playing is a very special form of learning, and just as a child can learn about the limits of the physical world, so too the meek can learn how to overcome a bully, or the weak to hit a baseball. In play there is a lot of trial and error. And, as a parent, as a coach, as a mentor, we need to have the patience to let the least of us play and play and play. To achieve their own “personal best.”
This same naiveté, however, is not so prized among the adult class. To be sure, it is encouraged and rewarded. Unions continually tell workers that they can’t advance, can’t get their “fair share”, without holding their employer hostage to the union. Politicians continually tell their constituent classes that they can’t advance, can’t get their “fair share”, without holding the rest of the state, county or city hostage to their political claims and demands.
And as a political class, or constituency, public employees, whether governmental or non-governmental agencies, are increasingly being told that without increases in government taxing and spending, they can’t advance, can’t get their “fair share”.
So, what stands between the public class and their advancement, their fair share?
Kids, it’s us. Those of us who don’t eat off a government plate. Those of us who joke about “didja get your stimulus check, yet?”
‘Cause you and I know a dirty little secret that not a single public employee will tell you about. Somebody has to pay for this love fest. And it won’t be a public employee. Not a single teacher, not a single state employee, not a single county maintenance worker will pay a dime. (‘Cause every dime spent today will be given back in the next Cost-of-Living wage increase.) Imagine a company where an employee could choose to either send his money to the State, or that same money to his employer. If the company made the same promises to its employees that the public employer give its employees, would you rather give it to the State? Or, to your boss?
The money, the real money that pays for all of the political class’ largesse comes from those of us in the private sector. Wealth is not created by taking money from me and giving it to someone who takes a public check. That employee is better off, sure. But he hasn’t created wealth. He has taken wealth. And the trillions of dollars in debt that the governments of the United States are creating today are debts that will need to be paid off by those of us in the private sector. And we represent all the bogey men of the Left. We are corporations, businesses; we demand cheap energy and low-wages. We seek to benefit ourselves, our stockholders, our families and our friends. And we work. We create. We build. We employ our talents and skills and hire those who have talents and skills that will make us more money, more wealth and a higher standard of living. We do this selfishly. We do it because we value our independence more highly than we do receiving our share of the dole. Our housing allotment. Our living allotment.
The naiveté of the Left is creating a burden on those of us who create wealth. We don’t talk about being Creative. We are creative. We don’t talk about the need for Innovation. We innovate. We don’t talk about Fairness, we simply work harder.
The basic political talking point of the Left is, today, the issue of Sustainability. You hear it at every opportunity. We need sustainable transportation. Sustainable energy. Sustainable housing. And what I hear is we need a housing allotment. An income allotment. An environmentally conscious car which will be allotted. The State will determine what is sustainable for you. Not you. And thereby create “Sustainability.”
Because “we”, the private sector, are uncontrollable. We don’t have 90 smart men and women in Salem determining our investment strategy. We don’t have 90 smart men and women in Salem determining our employment strategy. And that worries the smart men and women at work in Salem at our state legislature. And their thousands of employees, who have been hired to make sure that we make the right investment, employment and production decisions as determined by their masters.
They are spending and borrowing and taxing us to meet their goals. Because, after all, they are better off.
You and I need to remember this. When it is our jobs, our businesses, our families and our friends, we are being selfish. When it is their paycheck, it’s about being smarter than us. Wiser than us. Helping us.